Originally created 12/21/06

Delays in construction stall hospital's opening



The opening of the city's first standalone, long-term, acute care center has been delayed, but company officials hope to have the hospital operating by early next year.

The 80-room Select Specialty Hospital, still under construction near the intersection of 15th Street and Walton Way, likely will open in late February or mid-March, said Brian Davis, the chief executive of Augusta operations for Pennsylvania-Select Medical Corp., the hospital's developer.

The exact date depends on how quickly regulatory inspections are completed and could happen as late as March, he said.

The original opening was scheduled for late November.

"We don't feel that we were significantly off-target," Mr. Davis said, adding that minor interior, exterior and landscaping work still needs to be done at the 71,900-square-foot facility.

Select Medical oversees 65 semiprivate rooms at University Hospital and the Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics, where an average 55 to 60 patients reside at a given time.

Mr. Davis said not having to move them to the new facility during the holidays might cause less stress.

"I think it probably will be easier on us, and hopefully easier on the patients and families, too," he said.

He said construction delays have not increased the cost of the $22 million project.

Mr. Davis said Select has long planned to build a standalone site. The company's decision was hastened by new Medicare regulations that eventually would have reduced the number of patients that in-hospital care facilities could accept.

Mr. Davis said the separate center will maximize beds and allow each patient to have a private room.

Reach Laura Youngs at (706) 823-3227 or laura.youngs@augustachronicle.com.

What they do

Long-term acute care centers, such as Select Specialty Hospitals, provide care to people recovering from ailments - ranging from burn wounds to pneumonia - who don't need full-time hospital care.

Patients stay for an average of 25 days and are referred to a rehabilitation hospital if they require further treatment.

Source: Select Medical Corp. Web site and Augusta Chronicle archives